U women's hockey team upbeat as season begins

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2011 - 11:12 PM

The Gophers open play in their East/West Showcase on Friday with high hopes and high expectations.

Brad Frost

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Two players remain out because of post-concussion symptoms and one assistant coach position remains unfilled, but the Gophers women's hockey team starts its season this weekend. Minnesota is the host school for the four-team East/West Showcase at Ridder Arena.

Expectations for the Gophers are high as usual. They were picked to finish second in the WCHA preseason coaches poll behind defending NCAA champion Wisconsin and were ranked fourth in both major national polls. They play Union on Friday and Syracuse on Saturday in the showcase. St. Cloud State is the other West team in the field.

Nineteen of 23 players return from a 26-10-2 Gophers team that lost its final two games last season. Wisconsin beat the Gophers 5-4 in overtime of the title game of the WCHA tournament and Boston College beat them 4-1 in an NCAA regional.

"This is probably the deepest team that I have coached at the U in my five seasons," coach Brad Frost said. "We've got a great team on paper. But there is also many other strong teams in our league, let alone nationally."

Three of the Gophers' key players are goalie Noora Raty and defenseman Anne Schleper, two first-team all-WCHA picks, and forward Amanda Kessel, the conference's rookie of the year.

"[Raty] has won Olympic medals [for Finland]," Frost said, "she has been a two-time All-American and she is one of the best in the country. We feel very confident with her back there."

Schleper took the summer off from hockey after dealing with wrist issues the past two seasons. "I am healthy and I've got to stay there," she said. "That's half the battle in the collegiate game, keeping a healthy team."

Kessel had 19 goals and a team-high 50 points, but even she was hurting.

"What most people don't know she was nicked up for the majority of last year," Frost said. "You never saw Amanda playing at 100 percent."

Two players not healthy are junior goalie Alyssa Grogan and sophomore forward Ashley Stenerson. Grogan suffered a concussion 11 months ago, Stenerson a couple of months ago. "We will continue rehab for them and hope they get better," Frost said.

International intrigue

Frost has an opening on his staff because Natalie Darwitz resigned in early August. Darwitz, a former Gopher and Olympic star, accepted a job as the girls' hockey coach at Lakeville South.

"We have hired someone unofficially; I can't tell you who," Frost said. "They have been hired for about a month now but we are working on some visa issues to get her across the border."

That narrows it down to all the female hockey coaches in Canada.

  • GOPHERS WOMEN'S HOCKEY

    EAST/WEST SHOWCASE

    Friday: vs. Union, 7 p.m.

    Saturday: vs. Syracuse, 7 p.m.

    • SCSU plays at 4 p.m. both days • All games at Ridder Arena

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Detroit 6:00 PM
Washington
Atlanta 6:30 PM
Miami
Toronto 6:30 PM
New York
Memphis 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Dallas
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Utah
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Florida
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Philadelphia
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Colorado
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Edmonton
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 70 2nd Half 0:12
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 60 1st OT
Clemson 60
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 65 2nd Half 0:47
St Johns 79
Rhode Island 53 2nd Half 6:50
La Salle 49
Western Carolina 34 2nd Half 20:00
Citadel 25
Nebraska Omaha 39 2nd Half 20:00
IUPUI 34
Maine 43 2nd Half 10:03
New Hampshire 48
Samford 38 2nd Half
Va Military 26
Presbyterian 32 2nd Half 17:10
Winthrop 43
Utah State 6 1st Half 15:50
Air Force 5
Vermont 12 1st Half 13:48
Albany 10
UMBC 0 1st Half 17:42
Binghamton 4
Indiana State 8 1st Half 15:39
Bradley 4
Butler 7 1st Half 15:35
DePaul 4
Illinois State 0 1st Half 17:32
Evansville 4
Wright State 3 1st Half 17:01
Ill-Chicago 0
Fla Gulf Coast 7 1st Half 15:46
Jacksonville 9
Ole Miss 8 1st Half 15:04
LSU 9
North Carolina 2 1st Half 19:03
Miami-Florida 0
Wagner 1 1st Half 15:25
Mount St Marys 6
TCU 7 1st Half 16:08
Oklahoma 6
Delaware 5 1st Half 16:50
Towson 5
Cincinnati 7 1st Half 14:30
Tulane 4
Dayton 0 1st Half 15:30
VA Commonwealth 5
Northern Iowa 8 1st Half 15:18
Wichita State 12
Drexel 4 1st Half 15:44
William & Mary 2
Oakland 4 1st Half 18:59
Green Bay 2
Villanova 8 1st Half 15:18
Xavier 10
Campbell 4 1st Half 15:25
Longwood 2
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Michigan 60 FINAL
Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 21 2nd Half 13:57
Stetson 52
Samford 46 2nd Half 13:29
Mercer 32
Liberty 33 2nd Half 18:58
Campbell 27
North Texas 21 2nd Half 20:00
Old Dominion 42
St Francis-NY 34 2nd Half 10:44
Bryant 40
St Francis-PA 30 2nd Half
Robert Morris 30
Long Island 38 2nd Half 17:26
Sacred Heart 34
Sam Houston St 37 2nd Half 13:56
TX A&M-CC 34
Kent State 41 2nd Half 11:41
Miami-Ohio 43
ULM 31 2nd Half 18:31
Appalachian St 37
Boston U 37 2nd Half 11:17
Holy Cross 59
Nicholls 32 2nd Half
McNeese State 39
Akron 7 1st Half 14:34
Buffalo 10
Ball State 1:00 PM
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Delaware State 6
Northern Ill 2 1st Half 19:00
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Ohio U 7
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Toledo 13
Coppin State 1:00 PM
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NC Central 2
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Fairleigh Dickinson 8
Memphis 2 1st Half 15:41
(1) Connecticut 10
Georgia Tech 9 1st Half 14:39
Wake Forest 10
East Carolina 10 1st Half 15:45
Temple 4
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Rider 0
Michigan State 10 1st Half 15:30
Purdue 4
Fairfield 10 1st Half 16:03
Manhattan 4
Niagara 1:00 PM
Iona
East Tenn St 2 1st Half 11:43
(18) Chattanooga 15
Furman 0 1st Half 20:00
Wofford 0
Longwood 4 1st Half 14:26
Charleston Southern 5
UNC-Asheville 10 1st Half 15:51
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Presbyterian 7
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Belmont
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Kansas State 2:00 PM
TCU
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SMU
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Tulane 2:00 PM
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NC A&T
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BYU
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Alabama State
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Idaho State
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High Point
Green Bay 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
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SE Missouri St
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Alabama A&M
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